Just as Nashville has become a haven for the young and hip, a recent influx of transplants looking for cheap places to live, as well as great restaurants and markets, have turned Atlanta into hipsterville.
It’s even been listed as one of the top 35 cities for hipsters by Travel + Leisure, alongside Savannah, New York, Portland, and San Francisco, among others. So should you be on the lookout for coffee shops, music venues and dive bars frequented by your peers, you just have to know where to look.
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East Atlanta Village
East Atlanta Village, or EAV, is a neighborhood between I-20 and Moreland Avenue popular with young Atlantans for its cheap cost of living and plentiful dive bars. While it was once a rather dangerous neighborhood, it’s a common place for the under 30s to move.
Enjoy the cheap eats at Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand, where a chicken sausage, wedgies, and a red velvet milkshake are a must or try Mexican fare at Holy Taco. Fuel yourself with caffeine from Hodgepodge Coffeehouse And Gallery. And for late night bites, check out the Asian influenced cuisine and scene at Octopus Bar.
For live music, head over to The Earl, where you can catch some of the best lesser-known acts in town. Graveyard Tavern, and its accompanying music venue The Basement, is another place to see live music.
Cabbagetown (and Reynoldstown)
Cabbagetown is a neighborhood built on the area where the families of mill workers once lived. The warehouses have been transformed into expensive lofts and the shotgun style homes have been repurposed for hipsters to move in.
The neighborhood, and Reynoldstown, a smaller version, is chock full of street art from Living Walls, as well as delicious restaurants. Check out the Krog Street Tunnel, where you’re always bound to see an impromptu photo shoot.
For delicious bites, head to the diner-style breakfasts at Home Grown, which also has their own garden where produce is grown. Muchacho has trendy breakfast tacos and coffee. One Eared Stag has epic brunches and deals on $1 oysters and pony Miller Lites.
Nick’s Food To Go may not look like much from the outside, as it is covered in graffiti and a short walk from the highway, but this takeaway joint has the best Greek food around. And for cheap beers with fellow road bicycle enthusiasts, ride over to 97 Estoria, named for the bar’s address across the street from the Krog Street Tunnel.
Old Fourth Ward (and Grant Park)
Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward is named for a former system of political districts. The area that surrounds Boulevard was once the most sought-after neighborhood in the 1800s but progressively spiraled downwards in the 1960s. Projects within the last 20 years have revived interest in the neighborhood.
Ponce City Market is the former Sears warehouse that is being transformed into a mixed-use development for offices, apartments, retail spaces, and restaurants. It abuts the Atlanta BeltLine Trail, a former rail line that is now a running and walking path. The Jackson Street Bridge was made famous from the opening scene of The Walking Dead, as the main character enters the abandoned city on horseback.
The Old Fourth Ward and Grant Park, located across Memorial Drive, are full of restaurants, coffee, shops and bars worth checking out. For locally roasted coffee poured artfully, go to Condesa Coffee or Dancing Goats Coffee Bar. The hood is also great for brunch at restaurants like Highland Bakery, Ria’s Bluebird and Two Urban Licks.
For more delicious but cheap eats, you can’t go wrong with Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House, a seafood joint overlooking Oakland Cemetery. But for a fine dining experience, any and all of Kevin Rathbun’s restaurants are sure to please you, specifically Kevin Rathbun Steak or Krog Bar.
Should the nightlife come calling, Edgewood Avenue is the center of everything, with popular spots like Mother and Edgewood Speakeasy. For vintage arcade games, try Joystick and for borderline offensive decor, ping pong and choir robes, there’s nothing like Church, known better as Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium.
Be sure to see the fresh produce available at Freedom Farmer’s Market, held every Saturday at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, or the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, which sells meat, produce and ready-to-eat dishes from vendors like Grindhouse Burgers, Bell Street Burritos and Arepa Mia.
Little Five Points (and Poncey Highlands)
Little Five Points is the city’s original hipster haven, bringing in bohemian types for the last 50 years. Named for the smaller area where five streets meet, “L5P” exists on the corners of Moreland and Euclid avenues. It’s popular for many things, but mostly for its shopping.
The best vintage and gently used clothing can be found at Psycho Sisters, Buffalo Exchange, Clothing Warehouse and Rag-O-Rama. For boutique buys, try Cherry Bomb and for unique clothing and gifts for the alternative lifestyle, there’s nowhere quite like Junkman’s Daughter. Be sure to browse for vinyl and hard to find b-sides at Criminal Records.
For live music experiences, there’s nowhere that has hosted more well-known acts than Variety Playhouse, a former movie theater. But to scout for undiscovered acts, look for open mic nights at Five Spot or Euclid Avenue Yacht Club. Or catch indie flicks and documentaries at the Plaza Theatre.
Beer geeks will love the award-winning beer bars like The Porter Beer Bar, Wrecking Bar Brewpub and Brewhouse Pub. Each has their own delicious food menus that pair with their brews. But for the best burger in town, enter the skull doorway at The Vortex Bar & Grill or sumptuous barbecue at Fox Brothers.